Last Updated on 07:56 AM by Nikos Nakos
More than a dozen of years ago Heavy Metal was still feeling edgy, progressive, dangerous, and sometimes theatrical so therefore artistic and based on mystery and escapism. While Norway gave us a Hardcore/Punk meets Black ‘n Roll beast like Kvelertak among myriads of trve defenders of the faith that embraced traditional Heavy Metal along with Speed Metal values and so many old school and new school bands coming out of the underground serving all the sub genres that kept us busy all the previous years (most of them overproduced and with polished sound), it was a band from Sweden that had all eyes upon it using old-school guns and analog production. An earlier Death Metal singer created a Hard Rock band based on Alice Cooper-esque shock rock, faux-Satanic imagery, proto metal riffs and Mercyful Fate catchy hooks -not so heavy though- while satanic/luciferian tongue-in-cheek approaching was probably naive, but definitely they had the balls to support it as their songwriting skills were impressive and still remain that way. It wasn’t only the image or the hype. For me it was firstly all about the music. Roky Erikson and his 13 elevators took strong doses of ABBA catchiness as Ghost had the courage not to feel guilty about their pop influences that later would dominate their sound, along with keyboards in the vein of Deep Purple or Uriah Heep giving a 70’s aura, some parts of Heavy riffing in the veins of Mercyful Fate (less edgy of course) and vibes and melodies bringing in mind Black Widow, Blue Oyster Cult and Pentagram. Not bad at all isn’t it? If you add some ceremonial parts as in Con Clavi Con Dio and Genesis along with proto metal instant classics like Ritual and Elizabeth or the dark, muddy with down-tuned electric guitars Satan Prayer or Death Knell you get the full image of a masterpiece of addictive pop-influenced hard rock /70’s retro Heavy Metal worshipping Lucifer crescendo. If you consider that the whole album on its entirety will bring in mind some soundtracks from Horror films mostly giallo/Italian movies (the artwork cover of the album is inspired from 1979’s ‘Salem’s Lot’s poster which was an adaption to a two-part television miniseries that aired on CBS based on ‘Salem’s Lot 1975’s sophomore horror novel by American author Stephen King), you can see clearly with the safe distance of over a decade from its original release that Opus Eponymus came as a thunder from the sky, a message from Prince of Darkness (disguised as a Pope) in order to capture more and more fans for his legions or to make Heavy/Hard Rock more accessible to the masses once again as it was in the 70’s-80’s.